Return of the Mothman
Return of the Mothman
I've just completed a first draft of a new chapter I am adding to the Antiquity Calais: Standing at Armageddon novel. I've decided to upload that draft here so that loyal readers who want to know what's going on in the World of Antiquity Calais can get a sneak preview. In this chapter, we are shifting gears to introduce a new character that some of you may have heard of before. The quaint little town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia is well-acquainted with this character, as he was reputed to have terrorized the citizens of the town in 1967. What would happen if Mothman returned to Point Pleasant 41 years later? Read and enjoy!
Chapter Sixteen: Return of the Mothman
It was past midnight as Dave Harvey drove his Ford F150 home. Every bone in his body ached after working a double shift at the assembly line. His only thought was to get home as quickly as possible and get his head on a pillow. It's understandable then that Dave may have been exceeding the speed limit by a few miles an hour, as he approached the old TNT plant on the outskirts of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Still, he couldn't be going so fast that he deserved to be pulled over, he thought as he saw a pair of red lights coming up behind him.
As unhappy as he was in this scenario, Dave promptly pulled over and had his license, registration and proof of insurance in hand, expecting to have a patrolman at his window saying, "Do you know why I am pulling you over?"
There was something strange, however, as Dave noticed the lights were not flashing, and he also noticed, curiously enough, that this cruiser did not have headlights on. His pulse quickened dramatically when the lights pulled up behind him and he noticed that they were far too close together to be coming from a cruiser. And besides, that might be the quietest engine Dave had ever heard, he thought.
Shivers ran up and down Dave's body, as the lights left their position behind his car and moved alongside his window, where a cop would have been if this had, indeed, been a cruiser. Unfortunately for Dave, this was no cop, unless a cop could have glowing red eyes built into his shoulders, since there was no evidence of a head. And no cop he had ever seen had wings that had to be at least 10 feet tall, yet he had the torso and legs of a man. Neither had Dave ever heard any man alive let lose with an ear-splitting scream like the one he heard as he slammed the transmission into drive and put his pedal to the metal.
Dave was shocked and amazed when he looked down at his speedometer and saw it sitting at 105, as he drove down Route 62 heading toward town, and yet this creature was actually gaining ground on him. Dave would have given anything for a cop at that point. Then, to his utter astonishment, the lights disappeared from behind him, shooting right up into the sky and out of sight. The creature, whatever it was, had gone.
Minutes later, Dave was at his home, bending over in his gravel driveway, relieving his body of the burden of digesting his last meal. Once he had composed himself, Dave went inside. Although the creature had left, he was still plenty freaked out and worried the beast could show up on his doorstep. Still breathing heavily, Dave picked up his cordless telephone.
"Point Pleasant police. What is your emergency?"
"Yeah, this is Dave Harvey at 72 Country Club Road. I think I just saw that monster thing."
"I'm sorry sir. That monster thing?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, they got that statue thing downtown. What do they call it, the Mothman?"
There was a 10 second stretch of silence before the 911 dispatcher said, "I'll get a cruiser out to your home right away."
Ten minutes later, officer John Gendron was in his kitchen, hearing Dave recount the amazing story of his encounter with the Mothman. Gendron had known Dave since high school. He had always known Dave to be level-headed and hard-working, not at all the type who would concoct a story like this to attract attention to himself. In that regard, Dave had instant credibility in Gendron's eyes.
Still, more than 40 years had passed since the last reported appearance of Mothman in Point Pleasant. Between November of 1966 and December of 1967, Mothman terrorized the citizens of Point Pleasant. Some people to this day believed it was Mothman that was responsible for the rush hour collapse of the Silver Bridge, sending 67 people to their death in the Ohio River.
As the years passed without any further sightings, some in the community had started to believe it was all a hoax, and the collapse of the Silver Bridge was just an unhappy coincidence. But if some physical evidence of the return of Mothman were discovered, the community would be in a panic, with the naysayers leading the panic.
"I'm telling you John, you've known me for 30 years. I mind my own business, and try to keep my nose clean. I wouldn't be calling you guys if it weren't true," Dave professed.
"Oh I believe you Dave, I do. But something like this has to be handled properly. You have to understand that if this gets into the newspaper, there could be a panic. Before word of this gets out, I want to find out as much verifiable facts as I can."
"You have my word on that. I won't be talking to the paper. They'll treat me like a freak."
"You've always been a smart guy."
"Thanks. Will you let me know what you find?"
"Well, it'll be an ongoing investigation, so there may be some details I can't share. But I'll let you know what I can."
Gendron departed, and even with the night's excitement, Dave was able to fall asleep fairly quickly. It was a restless sleep, however. He kept having visions of the creature coming at him from all directions. And then there were occasional images of this man with no hair, save for a goatee mustache, dressed entirely in black, whom Dave had never seen before. By morning, when he awoke, he felt as if he had not slept at all.
Dave was shocked and amazed when he picked up the morning paper to see a screaming 72 point headline that read, "Mothman Returns to Point Pleasant."
Frantically he scanned through the article, and to his great relief there was no mention of his name anywhere. The reporter did, however, quote a gentleman everyone in Point Pleasant knew at least by reputation. His name was Byron Wayne, but at his insistence, everyone called him Lord Byron. To the best of anyone's knowledge, Byron had never been to England, or for that matter strayed too far from Point Pleasant. He could usually be seen walking along the highway by the old TNT plant, where the Mothman frequently was seen. It was presumed that the creature lived on the grounds of the abandoned factory, though no one was brave enough to investigate that detail.
"I was about a half mile past the TNT on Route 62 around midnight when I saw this pickup truck go flying by. He must have had his speedometer maxed out. That's when I saw the beast flying up behind him. Next thing I knew, Mothman shot straight up in the air, and the truck just kept on going," the article quoted Lord Byron.
"Hmmmm, I never saw him," Dave said, barely aloud, deducing that in his haste to get away from the beast, he must have failed to notice Byron on the side of the road.
While officer John Gendron may have been displeased at the breaking news regarding Mothman's return, there was one man reading that article who was most pleased. "Well, well, well, it looks as if I should pay another visit to our friends in Point Pleasant," said Leviathan Avalon, with a completely humorless smile.
It was not a coincidence that the last time Leviathan Avalon had been in Point Pleasant was December 15, 1967, the day of the Silver Bridge collapse. The public had blamed the collapse of the bridge on Mothman, and while they were correct that Mothman had been involved in the collapse, they did not have all the details correct.
It is true that Mothman had instilled the fear of God in the hearts of all the citizens of Point Pleasant. But the true Mothman was not the one who was responsible for the deaths that day. Leviathan Avalon had assumed the form of the Mothman, capitalizing on the fear the stranded creature had already inspired in the local community. He had the perfect scapegoat, and once Avalon had dispatched the creature to his own dimension in time space, he was free to raise havoc in complete anonymity.
It was curious to Avalon why the creature had returned to this small town. Was he oblivious to the devastation Avalon had done to this community in his name? Or perhaps the creature had an ulterior motive, some unfinished business? Avalon would know soon enough, as he instantly transported to the site of the abandoned TNT plant.
The plant had actually been demolished years previous, having been declared a Superfund Site. Still, it was a sprawling piece of land, with plenty of places for the creature to conceal himself. Avalon had a suspicion he knew where to look, however. Mothman, like most creatures, was a creature of habit, and he had one place in particular that he most often kept vigil during the daylight hours.
Methodically, Avalon glided through the woods until he came upon a cave that was extremely well-concealed with years of vegetation having grown in front. With a wave of his hand, the vegetation moved, and Avalon was clear to pass through the cave's entrance. Once inside, the vegetation reverted to its previous state, and the cave became utterly dark. For a man who had spent most of his existence in the dark, Avalon felt perfectly comfortable in this environment. Still, he was slightly surprised, and even a bit amused, not to find the eight-foot tall creature in this lair.
Just as he reached that conclusion, from behind him he heard the tell-tale sound of the Mothman coming from his rear. It was actually more like the sound of a mouse on steroids, but he knew the sound all the same.
Avalon whirled around to face his quarry and when he did, he saw the red eyes that had instilled fear to the point of paralysis in the hearts of over 100 witnesses the last time he had been seen in Point Pleasant.
"Hello my friend," Avalon said, telepathically.
Mothman did not respond verbally or even telepathically. Instead, he responded by sending beams of energy out of those eyes, blasting the unprepared Avalon off his feet, and sending him hurtling back against a wall of the cave, some 20 feet away. Shaken, Avalon unleashed his own counter-attack, but to his dismay, he found his own energy being repelled by another blast from the eyes of Mothman.
Is this possible? Avalon was stunned. Could this beast have powers greater than I?
As if in answer to that question, Mothman blasted a hole in the cave wall, just to Avalon's left, opening up a sort of portal. Although it was dark in this cave, this portal was even darker, as even the red laser eyes of Mothman could not penetrate this darkness. What's more, there seemed to be an intense gravitational effect emanating from the portal, as Avalon was instantly sucked into it. As he disappeared into the darkness, he screamed, "Where are you sending me?!"
This time, Mothman did respond. "Where you cannot hurt anyone."
Dave Harvey soon realized that his eyes were not nearly sealed shut just because he had not slept well. There was a sticky substance oozing from his eyes, getting caught in his eyebrows, and as a result, it was exceedingly difficult to open his eyes. He had had pink eye once before, when he was in summer camp. This had to be the same condition.
"Hey Doc," Dave said, when he called his doctor's office, and got the doctor on the phone. "This is Dave Harvey. You got any time to see me today?"
"I do Dave. What seems to be the trouble?"
"Got myself a case of pink eye, I think."
"Then it's probably best if I come out to see you. Not too safe for you to be driving, under the circumstances."
"Oh, that would be great Doc. You know where I live, right?"
"Of course Dave. I'll head right out."
Dave then turned his sights on a much needed cup of coffee, and he relaxed in his living room, with his feet up on the ottoman, drinking his coffee. Minutes later, he heard a door open and close. He presumed it must have been Doctor Anderson letting himself in.
"I'm in the living room Doc!" Dave called out.
Dave thought Doctor Anderson's foot steps seemed rather heavy, as he made his way from the kitchen to the living room. Expecting to hear the genial Doctor Anderson replying, it can well be understood why Dave would have died of panic right on the spot, as the winged being that had tormented him in his slumber the night previous ducked under the doorway and into his room.
Dave was not paralyzed, however, and sprang to action. Behind his recliner he kept a loaded rifle, a precaution he had taken the night previous. He grabbed the rifle, took aim and fired a shot that should have gone directly into the heart of Mothman. Instead, Mothman blasted the bullet with a laser beam that melted it on the spot. Yet, as if he understood why Dave would take such an action, he did not respond with similar force to Dave. Instead, he spoke to Dave telepathically, saying, "Your work here is now complete David. It is time for you to move on to the next phase of your existence. You must seek out the Liberator."
Once the message had been delivered, Mothman's eyes did grow brighter, and in moments he dispatched a beam of energy aimed at Dave's heart.
Mothman departed by air when he left Dave's home. Doctor Anderson found his body in the living room minutes later, completely perplexed as to what had killed him.
"Never seen a case of pink eye kill a man," commented Doctor Anderson, before picking up Dave's phone and dialing 911.
Officer John Gendron was just coming on for his shift when Doctor Anderson called dispatch. In record time, Gendron drove from the police headquarters to 72 Country Club Road.
Aware that he was potentially standing at ground zero of a crime scene, Doctor Anderson had chosen to leave the living room and the house in general, so he was out in the driveway when Gendron arrived.
"Watch your step Doc," Gendron advised, as Doctor Anderson was very close to stepping into the vomit Dave had deposited in the driveway the night previous. It was right next to Dave's black Ford F150 truck.
"That's curious. Maybe there was more going on with David than conjunctivitis."
"Is that what brought you out here Doc?"
"Yes, David called me and I was in the office getting caught up on paperwork. When he told me what he had, I told him I would come over. I didn't want him driving if his eyes were glued shut."
"Well he's sure had a rough 12 hours. I was here last night. Did he tell you that he had seen the Mothman?"
"No, he didn't mention it. But it serves to follow."
"Why do you say that?"
"When Mothman was here back in the 60's, I had many cases of conjunctivitis associated with people who had seen the creature. Something to do with the brightness of the eyes. There's a rare form of conjunctivitis that is brought on by exposure to incredibly bright lights. I'm sure that's what caused it. Still, I'm not at all sure what would have killed him. Ten minutes before I found him, he was alive and well."
Gendron had started walking around the driveway as the doctor spoke. When he finished speaking, Gendron said, "I have an idea doctor. Come over here."
Dr. Anderson walked over beside Gendron, who was looking down at the ground. Right at the base of the stairs that led up to Dave's back porch there was an enormous set of foot prints. Whatever had left these prints must have come in from the sky, because there was only one set discernible, despite the fact that the driveway and the walkway from the driveway to the porch were unpaved.
"Looks to me like Mothman has claimed another victim," Gendron said, before calling in to the station.
While Gendron and Doctor Anderson looked down at the ground, they were oblivious to the fact that hovering in the air not 50 feet from where they stood was the Mothman.
Gendron was in the middle of requesting backup to the scene when Doctor Anderson turned around.
"Your time here is now done, Dr. Anderson's. It is now time for you to seek the Liberator," Mothman spoke to Doctor Anderson telepathically, before leveling him with an instant shot of light from those terrible red eyes. Gendron barely had time to turn around, much less to process the similar message he was hearing inside his head, before he too was felled by the creature.
Mothman then flew out of sight, returning to his lair to await the opportunity to complete the set of sojourners he was dispatching into the great unknown.